The nucleotide sequence of 4 kilobases of DNA from within the short region of the genome of herpes simplex virus type 1 has been determined. This portion of DNA contains the junctions of the terminal and internal inverted repeat sequence components with the unique sequence component and the 5′ regions of the genes which encode the Vmw 12, Vmw 68 and Vmw 175 immediate-early polypeptides. The transcription and translation initiation sites of all three genes and the 5′ and 3′ boundaries of the Vmw 12 and Vmw 68 gene introns have been localized on the DNA sequence and shown to be flanked by sequences which resemble those found in similar positions in other eukaryotic genes. For the Vmw 12 and Vmw 68 genes the promoters, the 5′-non-coding regions of the mRNAs, and the introns lie within the terminal and internal inverted repeats respectively while the polypeptide-coding regions lie in the short unique component. The introns consist largely of tandemly reiterated copies of a 22-nucleotide sequence: the Vmw 12 gene intron contains seven of these and the Vmw 68 gene intron five. The Vmw 175 gene is located entirely within the short repeats, of which those regions sequenced here have the extremely high G + C content of 78%, in marked contrast to the value of 66% obtained for the adjacent region of the unique sequence component. Prediction of the complete amino acid sequence of the Vmw 12 polypeptide, accounting for a mol. wt. of 9830, and of the first 523 amino-terminal amino acids of the Vmw 175 polypeptide has been made from the DNA sequence. The polypeptide-coding region of the Vmw 175 gene has an average G + C content of 80% but nevertheless specifies a wide range of amino acid types because of the maximal assignment of G and C residues to codon third base positions.


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